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  • 2 months From the Editor, October 2019 Texasmonthly
    William Faulkner famously wrote that the past is never dead; it’s not even past. And that’s at least as true in Texas as in the author’s native Mississippi. Texans have long argued over whether Travis and Crockett and Bowie were defending Texas independence or slavery, and whether Comanche raids on white settlers were any more savage than the slaughter of Mexicano Texans by certain bands of Texas Rangers. Such debates are very much in the news, as Confederate monuments fall and textbooks are rewritten to take into account newly discovered documents and previously overlooked figures, especially women and people of ... more
  • 2 months Fort Worth’s Gemelle Showcases Love, Italian Style! Texasmonthly
    The romantic mythology surrounding Texas cowboys and cattle drives is the gift that keeps on giving—and giving and giving—and few people know that better than Fort Worth chef Tim Love. From his steak, wild-game, and seafood flagship, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro (named, of course, in honor of Larry McMurtry’s sprawling novel), to White Elephant Saloon and Woodshed Smokehouse—to cite only three of his major concepts in two states—the Denton-born Love has found the epic of Texas rewarding in every sense of the word. But not long ago, after more than three decades in the business and on the verge of ... more
  • 2 months ‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Excerpt: “Sediciosos” Texasmonthly
    The graves of Jesus Bazán and his son-in-law Antonio Longoria are located in a small family cemetery in northwestern Hidalgo County, deep in South Texas, close to the Mexican border. There is a modern farm-to-market road nearby, but the graves were dug many years ago at the edge of an older, unpaved road no longer in use. Jesus Bazán was 67 when he died on a September day in 1915. His son-in-law was 48. He died the same day. Their tombstones give no account about what happened to them, only the word “Murió”—“Died.” But no doubt there were friends and ... more
  • 2 months ‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Excerpt: “Savage Ware Fare” Texasmonthly
    “Matilda!” A man named Andrew Lockhart yelled above the chaos of an attack on a Comanche village. “If you are here, run to me!” From inside one of the lodges, fourteen-year-old Matilda Lockhart heard her father’s voice. She screamed back as loud as she could to let him know she was in the camp with the Indians who had captured her, but he couldn’t hear her above the noise of musket fire and the barking of dogs and the terrified shrieks of women and children. This happened in the winter of 1839 somewhere along the San Saba River. The attackers ... more
  • 2 months ‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Excerpt: “Reason Had Left Its Throne” Texasmonthly
    Texas seceded from the Union in early February of 1861 and joined the Confederacy that March, less than a month before the bombardment of Fort Sumter that began the Civil War. But the embrace of secession and of the Confederacy was far from monolithic in Texas. About a third of the state’s residents, after all, were enslaved. And in parts of Texas, in those counties that had voted against secession, Unionist sentiment could be strong. In the little Hill Country town of Comfort, about fifty miles northwest of San Antonio, a lonely limestone obelisk sits in a patch of parkland ... more
  • 2 months Américo Paredes vs. J. Frank Dobie Texasmonthly
    Américo Paredes didn’t look like an insurrectionist. Raised to be modest, formal, and genteel in public demeanor, he was always impeccably groomed and well-appointed in suit and tie and glossy, black-framed glasses. He looked more like a bank clerk than a man bent on taking aim at the reputation of Texas’s most esteemed writer. Born in Brownsville in 1915, Paredes was the descendant of an old Mexican family with Spanish Sephardic roots that had migrated to New Spain in the late sixteenth century and was part of the expeditions led by José de Escandón that settled such towns as Mier, ... more
  • 2 months The Battle to Rewrite Texas History Texasmonthly
    On the mild, cloudy day of April 14, 2015, exactly 150 years and five days after Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union Army at a courthouse in Virginia, an unusual spectacle took place in a committee room inside the Texas Capitol, the grounds of which are adorned with towering monuments and paeans to the slave empire’s army. A thirteen-year-old middle school student from Austin named Jacob Hale was defending a bill, drafted by him and given to his state representative, that would correct what he regarded as a grievous mistake: The state of Texas celebrates a holiday ... more
  • 2 months Nurdles All the Way Down Texasmonthly
    One windy winter morning in 2009, a retired shrimp boat captain named Diane Wilson pulled her red Chevy pickup into the parking lot of the Hideout, a metal box of a bar on the outskirts of Rockport. A self-identified “eco-outlaw” and fourth-generation Gulf Coaster, Wilson had spent the previous two decades fighting what she calls a “Diane-versus-Goliath” battle to prevent chemical plants and refineries from polluting the bays that her family has fished, shrimped, crabbed, and oystered for over a century. The week before, Wilson had gotten a call from Dale Jurasek, a former wastewater operator at the Formosa Plastics ... more
  • 2 months The Hunt for the Serial Killer of Laredo Texasmonthly
    He first began frequenting San Bernardo Avenue, in the border city of Laredo, in the late spring of 2018. He was in his mid-thirties, a strapping man, at least six feet tall and two hundred pounds. His black hair was neatly trimmed on top and shaved on the sides, like a military cut, and he had a stubble beard. He drove a white 2015 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup that always appeared to be freshly detailed. He usually showed up after dark, slowing as he came to the four-block section of San Bernardo a couple of miles north of downtown that many ... more
  • 2 months Midland Rolls With the Punches Texasmonthly
    Midland couldn’t give less of a shit about whether you think they’re country enough—they know they’re the real deal.  Since releasing their hit song “Drinkin’ Problem” in 2016, the Texas trio has racked up a certified platinum single, released an album that debuted at number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and snagged a Grammy nomination along the way. They’ve made a name for themselves by carving out a space in the country genre where custom rhinestone suits and Southern rock harmonies are back in style. Even Diplo’s taken a page from Midland’s book, using bassist Cameron Duddy’s custom ... more
  • 2 months The James Beard Awards Recognize Texas Culinary Independence Texasmonthly
    It’s shaping up as a red-letter year for Texas restaurants. Back in May, Food & Wine put two Texans on its list of the best new chefs in the country. Last week, Bon Appétit included four Texas spots among its selection of the top fifty new restaurants, and it named Dallas its “restaurant city of the year.” But, wait, that’s not all. Today, Bon Appétit released its Hot Ten list (i.e., the best of the top fifty), and a Dallas restaurant, tiny Cambodian-oriented Khao Noodle Shop, took the number two spot. Clearly the Texas culinary scene has arrived, so much ... more
  • 2 months Why Julián Castro Should Stay in the Presidential Race Texasmonthly
    As Julián Castro celebrated his 45th birthday alongside brother Joaquin at an event center in San Antonio on Monday, there was a lot weighing on his mind. Castro continues to look like an also-ran in national polling and ranks fourteenth in fundraising among the Democratic party’s presidential contenders, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. He has only about $1 million on hand, far less than fundraising leader Bernie Sanders’s $27 million. Then last week, following a third Democratic presidential debate in Houston, he was widely criticized as mocking the age of Joe Biden. This has led some party ... more
  • 2 months Migrants Stuck in Squalid Mexican Tent Camps Begin Asylum Process Texasmonthly
    At their first court appearance in the United States, the Zavaletas—a family of three from Guatemala—had a simple request for immigration judge Daniel Gilbert. “Is there any way we could stay in this country so we can hire a lawyer?” asked Eric Zavaleta, the father. “Over there [in Mexico], we’re living on the streets and can’t find one.” Gilbert paused after listening to the impassioned plea and then said, “I don’t have the authority to grant that request.” The exchange underscored the dilemma facing migrants stuck in Matamoros under the Trump administration’s widening Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which require asylum ... more
  • 2 months The Making of An Urbane Cowboy Texasmonthly
    The late singer and songwriter Lee Hazlewood loved to tell stories, and some of them were almost certainly true. Take the one about how he wrote his best-known song. It was 1965, and the then-36-year-old Hazlewood was living in Los Angeles, where he had made his name as a producer and songwriter of hits for the likes of Duane Eddy, Dean Martin, and Dino, Desi, & Billy. According to Hazlewood, he had recently been visiting Port Neches, Texas, where he had gone to high school, to spend time with family. He went to a club in nearby Port Arthur called ... more
  • 2 months Ken Burns Talks Waylon, Willie, and How Texas Defined Country Music Texasmonthly
    Ken Burns has told stories about the most important parts of American life. His eleven-hour documentary The Civil War is the definitive film on the subject; Baseball, clocking in at eighteen and a half hours, tells the full story of America’s pastime. His work treats life and death events like the wars that shaped our nation and the cultural phenomena that define who we are as people as equally important, and equally deserving of our time and attention. The latest cultural force to come under Burns’s historian lens is country music, in an eight-part documentary of the same name that’s airing on PBS from now ... more
  • 2 months Kimberly King Parsons: “Maybe We Call What I Do Queer Psychedelic Texas Fiction?” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify With its release last month, Kimberly King Parsons’ short-story collection Black Light went from being one of the year’s most-anticipated literary debuts to being one of the year’s best-reviewed literary debuts. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Occasionally a debut collection lands with such a wet, happy thud that you immediately start imagining the rest of the writer’s long career.” Indeed, Black Light is really just a set-up for Parsons’ debut novel, which she’s completing now for release next year and says is about the intersection of Texas, motherhood, and LSD. Parsons, who was born ... more
  • 2 months The Texanist: The ‘Nub’ of a Corny Dog Is Good Eatin’, Right? Texasmonthly
    Q: My wife and I have an ongoing debate regarding the corn dog “nub” that is left on the stick when you finish eating a corn dog. I think it’s the best part and tell her it wouldn’t be Texan to not eat it, while she says it is trash. Who is correct? And what is that thing really called anyway?  Aaron Haley, Austin A: Thanks for the letter, Mr. Haley. There are few things the Texanist enjoys more than jumping into the middle of an ongoing “debate” between a couple he’s never met before. One might think that a ... more
  • 2 months The Best Thing in Texas: The Eleven-Year-Old Designer Showcasing at New York Fashion Week Texasmonthly
    WHO: Jayden Allyn Washer WHAT: The young designer is unveiling several of his pieces at New York Fashion Week. WHY IT’S SO GREAT: The Alief-based Washer learned to sew at the age of seven. What’s more impressive is that just four years later, the eleven-year-old is showcasing floor-length gowns and dresses he brought to life at the Fashion Insitute’s Finest Independent Designer event, a high-profile showcase during New York Fashion Week. His designs are reminiscent of the Hollywood glam era, with dresses named after sartorial icons like Aubrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.  Typically, designers are locked in at least six ... more
  • 2 months Legends of the Fall Texasmonthly
    I don’t know about you, but I am deeply envious of all those wistful end-of-summer photos that recently turned up on my Instagram feed. You probably know what I’m talking about—that last sail on the blue waters off the Cape, or the final sunset in the Hamptons, or that last hike in the Tetons or the Rockies, the one requiring long pants and a fleece windbreaker. There were photos of last “cookouts” around the charcoal grill—and no one is sweating. I understand why the arrival of Labor Day is a bittersweet time in other parts of the country, signaling as ... more
  • 2 months Thursday Night Lights: Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro Fight for Relevancy at the Houston Debate Texasmonthly
    Texas may well be a place to watch in the 2020 election. But the two Texans in the race, Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke, have struggled to stay in the running, to the disappointment of many Democrats here. The debate at Texas Southern University in Houston on Thursday night, the first of the race to feature all major candidates on stage together, was an opportunity to break through on home turf. Or at least, that was the pre-debate narrative. Commentators love to crown winners and losers in these things, and at the end of the night, the consensus seemed to ... more
  • 2 months The Six Texas Politicians Addicted to Twitter—For Better or Worse Texasmonthly
    Perhaps because the president has transformed Twitter from a forum for trading memes and petty personal grievances into a place where memes and petty personal grievances become de facto executive orders, officeholders of the Trump era can’t help but descend into the social media muck. This is true despite the fact that, relatively speaking, hardly anyone is on Twitter: Only about 22 percent of U.S. adults use the platform, according to a 2019 Pew Research study. As vices go, that makes it just slightly more popular than smoking. Yet because the media and political beasts comprise an outsized proportion of that ... more
  • 2 months Smoke-A-Holics BBQ Is Helping to Revitalize Southeast Fort Worth Texasmonthly
    After five years of socking away extra cash, all Kesha Walker wanted was a new house. She and her husband Derrick had been working full-time jobs and hustling on the weekends inside a sweltering barbecue food truck. “We already had a realtor, a leasing agent, we had our money put up. We had everything ready to buy a house,” Derrick said, but Kesha had a change of heart. She insisted they put their original plan on the back burner so the couple could instead buy a barbecue joint.  “I knew this was his dream. There was just something in me. ... more
  • 2 months The Trump Administration Is Blocking the Public from Attending Asylum Hearings in Brownsville Texasmonthly
    On Thursday, just half a block from the “Welcome to the United States of America” sign that greets people entering Brownsville via the international bridge, two Department of Homeland Security agents guarded a chain-link gate.  Unfolding behind the gate is a new experiment launched in South Texas this week by the Trump administration that targets the stream of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America. First started in the El Paso Border Patrol sector, the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols, better-known as “Return to Mexico,” are now underway in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo sectors. Under MPP, once migrants seek asylum, they ... more
  • 2 months Paul Cauthen’s ‘Room 41’ Resides In Between Vulnerability and Swagger Texasmonthly
    Tucked inside the lobby of Dallas’s Belmont Hotel is a pearly white Essex piano. On the instrument’s top left corner, a small picture frame contains the italicized words “amateurs please refrain.” Guests typically just walk past it on their way towards the shaded patio, or the quaint corner bar directly across from it.  But for nearly two years, the rising country songwriter Paul Cauthen has used this particular piano as a launching point for his distinctive songs. Cauthen called the sprawling Belmont campus home for those years—specifically a second-story roost known as Room 41, located on a hill. He’d moved ... more
  • 2 months The Highwomen Are the Best Thing in Country Right Now Texasmonthly
    It’s been a helluva long time since country music’s been this exciting.  For the first time in its 52-year history, the Country Music Awards will be hosted by multiple women; the biggest, and most controversial country song in recent memory was recorded by a queer black Twitter superstar; and this month, with the release of their debut album, the Highwomen are taking on Nashville’s boys’ club.  It’s no secret that women in country music have been facing an uphill battle for years. Loretta Lynn was famously banned from country radio for “The Pill,” her ode to birth control and female ... more
  • 2 months Boone Pickens Was a Helluva Storyteller—and That’s Why We Couldn’t Resist Him Texasmonthly
    In 2008, when I got the chance to meet T. Boone Pickens for the first time—he had just turned eighty and was on a “crusade to build wind energy farms and get Americans into natural gas-fueled cars—I was so stunned at his old-fashioned storytelling ability and his rustic sense of humor that I went straight home, called one of Pickens’ closest friends, and asked if the oilman was for real. “I think he was putting me on with some well-rehearsed act,” I said. “Nope,” said Pickens’ friend. “He acts like a character out of a movie,” I insisted. I looked ... more
  • 2 months Churchy Chicken: Why the Religious Right Won’t Stop Talking About Chick-fil-A Texasmonthly
    The defense of western civilization requires a high-calorie diet, so as I near the site of the Texas Faith, Family & Freedom Forum, an evangelical policy conference and pep rally, I detour to a nearby Chick-fil-A. Having missed the cutoff for breakfast, I settle for a spicy chicken sandwich. Two employees are directing traffic in front of the three drive-through lanes, like soldiers at the portcullis of a crusader castle. This is an outpost of order in a chaotic world, and these men and women are its sentinels. My pleasure, each one says in turn, as the chicken makes its ... more
  • 2 months The Texas Roadside Photographer Who Finds Beauty in the Banal Texasmonthly
    Texans have an insatiable thirst for the photos of (you guessed it) Texas. Lucky for us, we’re living in a golden age of Lone Star imagery. Just look at Instagram, where many of the state’s most celebrated photographers supply us with unending streams of boundless vistas, open roads, big skies, and Longhorn cattle wandering in splashy fields of wildflowers. I’m here for all of them. Crank up the saturation, click upload, and feed those scenes from the High Plains and “Abandoned East Texas”straight into my veins. Photographer Trent Lesikar is traveling down a different road altogether. In his ongoing project The ... more
  • 2 months Dallas Is Bon Appétit’s Restaurant City of the Year Texasmonthly
    Bon Appétit’s infatuation with Texas has reached a delicious new level. Today the national food magazine named Dallas its 2019 “restaurant city of the year.” This recognition comes just two days after it announced that four Texas restaurants had made the list of fifty nominees for its forthcoming Hot 10 list, including two in Dallas. In its story, Bon Appétit writes, “From the rich bowls of boat noodles to the crazy charcuterie boards to the spicy strawberry sotol, one thing is clear: Texas’ oft-skipped food destination is no longer skippable. . . . today, the city’s in the midst of a renaissance, with ... more
  • 2 months Remembering T. Boone Pickens, the “Aw-Shucks” Billionaire Texasmonthly
    When T. Boone Pickens graduated with a geology degree from Oklahoma State, in 1951, his father, Thomas Boone Pickens, told him that “a fool with a plan beats a genius with no plan every time. My problem is, you’re no genius, and you got no plan.” As it turned out, the elder Mr. Pickens was wrong. His son, the famed oilman and corporate raider who died today at the age of 91, was, in fact, a genius of sorts. In the spring of 2016 I stopped by Pickens’s Dallas office to interview him for a book I was writing. Pickens ... more
  • 2 months Daniel Johnston Will Live On In Ways Few Artists Get To Texasmonthly
    There aren’t many people who wrote sadder songs than Daniel Johnston did. Or weirder songs. Or funnier ones. Johnston became famous in that Austin-in-the-early-’90s way that Richard Linklater, the Butthole Surfers, and other fixtures of the city’s transition from sleepy college town to the creative hub for this part of the country did because of those songs. He used to pass them out on cassette tapes he made to customers at the McDonald’s he worked at, and as his local fame grew, he’d sell them at Waterloo Records or the long-departed Sound Exchange, trading artwork out of the similarly-departed comic ... more
  • 2 months Why Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” Is 100% Deserving of a Grammy Nomination Texasmonthly
    You’ve heard “Truth Hurts.” That’s a near certainty, unless you haven’t turned on a radio or browsed social media this year. The song, by Houston-raised singer/rapper/flautist Lizzo, originally dropped in 2017 as a stand-alone single. Yet because it also appears on the deluxe version of her 2019 album Cuz I Love You—and thanks to a recent surge in popularity—there’s a possibility “Truth Hurts” could notch a 2020 Grammy nomination for Song of the Year despite its past release date. Now that the Grammy’s tricky eligibility requirements have deemed it a worthy contender, we’ll have to wait until November 20 to see ... more
  • 2 months ‘Bon Appétit’ Names Four Texas Restaurants to Its Annual Top 50 List Texasmonthly
    Bon Appétit magazine has just planted a Texas-sized smooch on our culinary scene. Four restaurants in the Lone Star State appear among fifty nominees for the best new restaurants in the country. The list, revealed Tuesday, precedes the magazine’s final choices for the “Hot 10,” to be announced on September 17. The Texas selections were decidedly on the casual side—as were many of the others nationwide—a trend that has been holding true for “best restaurant” lists in many publications at least during the last two years. Getting the nod, in alphabetical order, are Blood Bros. BBQ, described as having “stellar Texas ’cue ... more
  • 2 months A Barbecue Editor and a Taco Editor Walk Into a Taqueria…. Texasmonthly
    If you asked Texans about their favorite foods, barbecue and tacos would probably be at the top of the list (sorry, chili). As the Barbecue Editor, I’ve been covering the barbecue explosion in Texas for more than six years, and I’m happy to welcome another food specialist to the Texas Monthly team. I’ve often described José R. Ralat as my counterpart in the world of tacos, so it’s fitting that he’s joining the staff as our Taco Editor—he’s one of five new staffers we announced on Tuesday. José has written about tacos extensively since he began his Taco Trail column ... more
  • 2 months From Obscure Web Developer to Trump Campaign Manager: The Inside Story of Brad Parscale’s Unlikely Rise Texasmonthly
    On the evening of May 30, Brad Parscale, the campaign manager of Donald J. Trump for President Inc., gave a speech to a gathering of the faithful. Parscale is a striking figure: six foot eight, with a Viking beard and a penchant for bombast. He was a phenom of the 2016 election, rising, in a matter of months, from an anonymous web designer in San Antonio to the Trump campaign’s reputed digital savior. He has become a frequent warmup act at Trump rallies and a prized attraction in GOP fund-raising circles. On this occasion, he was speaking to the Miami ... more
  • 2 months Resurrecting ‘Stories That Must Not Die,’ A Chilling, Seminal Collection of South Texas Folklore Texasmonthly
    It’s a deep, midnight-colored October evening in 1992. The first chill of autumn has arrived in Harlingen, bringing a reprieve from the summer heat that has lingered too long. Eight-year-old me pulls a dog-eared paperback from my backpack and I turn on the bedside lamp. The book’s edges have yellowed, but the pages inside remain creamy white. Flipping through it, I can smell decades of history—its stories told countless times on cool concrete porches or warm wooden rockers or over coffee-stained kitchen tables. I read the title out loud—Stories That Must Not Die. Ask anyone who went to elementary school in South ... more
  • 2 months Can the 2019 Houston Astros Break the 1,000 Run Barrier? Texasmonthly
    The Astros have been on a ridiculous scoring run over the past month and a half, particularly with their past couple of games—21 runs on Sunday, then another 15 on Monday. Averaging 18 runs a game isn’t sustainable, obviously, but these two aren’t outliers: The Astros scored 11 runs in a game against the Mariners last week, and in August they had games where they scored 15 against the Rays, 11 against the Angels, 14 against the Rockies, a ridiculous (and team record) 23 against the Orioles. All told, the Astros have averaged nearly 8 runs a game since the ... more
  • 2 months Buck’s Moves Its Inventive Barbecue From Houston to Galveston Texasmonthly
    Jim Buchanan impressed us last summer with Buck’s Barbeque Co. in Houston. He was serving the classic Texas smoked meats along with more creative dishes. Weekly specials like the smoked meat loaf and a brisket debris po-boy brought loyal customers to Lucky’s Lodge, where Buchanan was posted up, but the arrangement was always meant to be temporary. “It was like running a pop-up every week,” Buchanan said, so he was eager to find a permanent spot of his own. The search eventually led him and his wife Colleen to the Texas coast. Buck’s officially debuted in Galveston on August 1, but ... more
  • 2 months Dining Guide: Highlights From Our September 2019 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 September 2019 issue. In case you missed it, restaurant critic Patricia Sharpe’s 2019 list of Texas’s Best New Restaurants came out in our March issue, and you can also read up on her latest Pat’s Pick, Houston’s Squable. Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant: Austin High Note After years of plying us ... more
  • 2 months Announcing Five New Hires, Including Our First Taco Editor! Texasmonthly
    Pass the tortillas. As of September 18, Texas Monthly will have a taco editor on staff. José R. Ralat, a Dallas-based writer, is joining us to cover all things taco, from reviews and profiles to trends and Tex-Mex traditions. Ralat is one of five recent additions to the editorial staff and the tenth full-time new hire in six months. Ralat’s addition reflects our continuing commitment to covering Texas’s unique and outstanding culinary landscape. In 2013, we became the first magazine to appoint a barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, who’s been energetically covering our thriving smoked-meat scene ever since. As taco editor, Ralat will be a regular presence on texasmonthly.com ... more
  • 2 months Dan Patrick Is a Sworn Enemy of Gun Control, So Why Is He Proposing Background Checks Now? Texasmonthly
    After the mass shooting of ten people at Santa Fe High School, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick dismissed a modest proposal by Governor Greg Abbott to pass red flag laws that would allow judges to  remove firearms from potentially dangerous individuals. In response to the shooting death of 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Patrick oversaw the loosening of gun laws to allow the carrying of licensed handguns in houses of worship. But in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa in August that left a total of 29 people dead and 49 wounded or injured, ... more
  • 2 months A Brief History of Matthew McConaughey Dying Onscreen Texasmonthly
    On September 20, Zach Galifianakis’ web series Between Two Ferns finally makes the jump to the big screen (or, at least, Netflix). The recently-released trailer features Matthew McConaughey being delivered from one of Galifianakis’ typically awkward interviews by a burst pipe that leaves him, as an angry Will Ferrell explains, “momentarily dead.” This is an unusual reprieve for the beloved actor, who’s spent a decent chunk of his filmography dying. In fact, according to the Cinemorgue database, McConaughey has been fake-killed, briefly or otherwise, more than a dozen times—and while those aren’t, say, Sean Bean numbers, they’re impressive for a ... more
  • 2 months The Texas Death Penalty Machine Has Become Increasingly Grotesque Texasmonthly
    Governor Greg Abbott tweeted last week that “expedited executions” for mass shooters would make a “nice addition” to the package of policy proposals he was assembling in the wake of massacres in El Paso and Midland-Odessa. It was a curious proposal, as my colleague Dan Solomon noted, given that two of the four most prolific recent shooters were killed in their attacks, the third is too young to be executed, and the fourth had previously expressed a desire to die as soon as possible. But it was also a reminder that the death penalty retains a strong psychic hold on ... more
  • 2 months Ted Cruz Talks Gun Control, Political Civility, Alex Jones, and President Trump’s Tweets Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify Last Wednesday, in the waning days of a month-long congressional recess, Senator Ted Cruz visited with Midland-Odessa city and law enforcement leaders after a mass shooting there left seven dead and 25 injured. The next afternoon, the debate over access to guns was a major focus of our hour-long conversation on the National Podcast of Texas, recorded in his Houston office. The conversation also covers the state of civility, tax reform, why he believes President Trump has been good for Texas, Alex Jones, and the meeting he’ll have Tuesday about guns in Washington, D.C., ... more
  • 2 months Could a Loud, Rich, and Scandal-Prone Personal Injury Lawyer Win Control of Houston? Texasmonthly
    The view from a luxe office on the seventy-third floor of Houston’s tallest building might give anyone visions of dominance, and it’s easy to understand why Tony Buzbee wouldn’t be immune. He grew up wearing cheap jeans and off-brand shoes in tiny Atlanta, Texas, in the state’s northeast corner. Through brains and grit and sharp elbows, he transformed himself into one of the country’s richest and most famous personal injury lawyers, defending, so he likes to say, working people against greedy corporations. Nowadays Buzbee can look down on some of those companies’ headquarters from his aerie in the Chase Tower. The ... more
  • 3 months Texas Monthly Recommends: Taylor Swift’s New Song With the Dixie Chicks Texasmonthly
    When Taylor Swift teased the fact that the Dixie Chicks would perform on her new album, the extent of their participation was a big question mark. It’s hard to know what to expect when the Dixie Chicks are involved, given that it’s been thirteen years since they recorded new music in the studio. “Soon You’ll Get Better,” though, is the sort of song that the Dixie Chicks do better than anybody—a sad, tender, hopeful ballad about family and grief, built around impeccable harmonies that flutter up over the chorus. Taylor Swift may be the lead singer on the track, but ... more
  • 3 months Migrants Testify to Sleeping Near Feces and Urine in South Texas Border Patrol Holding Facilities Texasmonthly
    Jonathan Rizzo did his best to survive. A 30-year-old asylum seeker from Guatemala, after his arrest at the border in May, he was crammed into a Border Patrol holding facility in Brownsville with so many other men that they had to sleep in shifts. Some stretched out on the filthy concrete floor while others stood.  One miserable night, the cell’s single toilet backed up, spilling feces and urine on the floor. The inmates were told that nothing could be done until a cleaning crew came to work the next day. As bad as those conditions were, things got worse for ... more
  • 3 months How the ‘Yeehaw Agenda’ Disrupted Texas Country Culture for Good Texasmonthly
    Last year, the Dallas-based pop culture archivist Bri Malandro declared—alongside a repost of King Kong magazine’s western-themed cover shoot featuring the singer Ciara—that “the yee haw agenda is in full effect.” The prophetic tweet caught fire, cementing a name for the surge of progressive Southern, country, and cowboy styles crossing from the fringe (no pun intended) into the mainstream. Soon “yeehaw” had seemingly flooded all corners of pop culture: In early 2019, homegrown country star Kacey Musgraves’s Golden Hour received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and yodeling teen Mason Ramsey had become an internet sensation. Social media—not to mention ... more
  • 3 months Convicted of Murder at Age 12, Edwin Debrow Finally Walks Free Texasmonthly
    On a Tuesday morning, August 27, guards led 40-year-old Edwin Debrow into a small room at the Carol S. Vance Unit, a state prison just outside of Houston. The convicted killer took off his white inmate’s uniform and put on a new pair of blue jeans, new white socks, a new pair of blue Nike Air Max 270s, and a light blue T-shirt that read: Edwin Debrow Free to Be Me “I’m ready,” he said, a grin slicing across his face. “I’m so ready.” The last time Debrow had been in “civilian clothes,” as he called them, was September 27, ... more
  • 3 months What if the Texans’ Bizarre Offseason Wins Them the Super Bowl? Texasmonthly
    The weirdness of the Houston Texans’ past week has been well-documented elsewhere, so we’ll just give you the highlights: The team waited until a week before the start of the season to trade pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney, who was in the midst of a holdout the team couldn’t resolve. Had they traded him, say, back in April, they might have gotten a return for the star similar to the one the Seahawks got for the similarly-situated Frank Clark, netting a first and second-round draft pick for one of the league’s best young players. Instead, they gave Clowney to the Seahawks in ... more
  • 3 months Recipe: Lamburger Helper From Chris Shepherd’s New Cookbook Texasmonthly
    With his new cookbook, Cook Like a Local, Houston chef Chris Shepherd (along with co-author Kaitlyn Goalen) aims to expand the definition of “local” food. “Local food should reflect the people of a place,” he writes, “just as much as the ingredients of a place.” So what doors open when you bring the culinary traditions of your neighbors into your cooking? For Shepherd, “local” means Houston, a city increasingly celebrated as home to one of the country’s most diverse populations. It’s incredibly fertile culinary territory, and Shepherd writes passionately about eating his way through the Vietnamese restaurants along Bellaire Boulevard, perusing ... more
  • 3 months BBQ News Roundup: RIP “Smokey” John Reaves, a Top 50 Joint For Sale, and Great Chain Barbecue Texasmonthly
    In the current issue of the American Conservative, John Shelton Reed discusses the changing barbecue landscape—categorizing joints into folk barbecue, haute barbecue, and mass barbecue, the last of which he likens to an invasive species. The founder of Smokey John’s BBQ in Dallas passed away: RIP Smokey. John Reaves, founder of Dallas' beloved Smokey John's Bar-B-Que, dies at 74 https://t.co/jTbDnT9YgQ — Tom Fox (@TomFoxPhoto) August 25, 2019 A day after the death of John Reaves, his sons Juan and Brent won the Big Tex Choice Award for their Big Red Chicken Bread at the State Fair of Texas. Nick Rallo wrote ... more
  • 3 months Pennie’s Tex Mex Take Out Brings New Life to a Galveston Institution Texasmonthly
    Israel “Pennie” Ochoa and his wife Connie opened Pennie’s Meat Market in Galveston in 1978 at 1713 37th Street. The building had housed a meat market as far back as least 1913, when a butcher named Franke Henry listed his business there in the Galveston directory. The Ochoas sold raw meat, but their specialties were Israel’s barbacoa and Connie’s tamales. “My mother-in-law started to make tamales, and it took off, so my father-in-law started to make barbacoa,” Ochoa’s son-in-law, Louis Moreno, remembers. After Israel passed away in 2003, Connie continued to run the market. The decline in Galveston’s population immediately after ... more
  • 3 months Would You Like to Borrow Dan Crenshaw’s Guns? Texasmonthly
    Friends, it’s been such a lovely evening, and we can’t thank you enough for coming by the old Crenshaw homestead. We hope you enjoyed the steak as much as the discussion on the rising scourge of identity politics. And sorry that Dan had to duck out early. He has some Twitter videos to record. You know, there are just so many journalists, fellow members of Congress, comedians, viral stars, and random meme accounts that require Dan’s attention these days. Especially in the wake of those two awful mass shootings, it’s more important than ever that Dan represent Texas in the ... more
  • 3 months How Toby Huss Became Hollywood’s Favorite Fake Texan Texasmonthly
    “You know my name’s not really Tex, right?” charmingly wily tycoon James Joseph “J.J.” McCready asks midway through the third season of GLOW. All the other characters on the Netflix comedy keep calling him “Tex,” despite the fact that he hails from Wyoming. It’s a mistake that J.J. graciously chalks up to “the hat or the accent or some such” (or maybe it’s the boots). It also echoes a real-life mistake that audiences often make about the actor who plays him, Toby Huss. You might remember Huss as surreal superhero Artie, the Strongest Man in the World, on Nickelodeon’s The ... more
  • 3 months The Governor Wants “Expedited Executions” For Mass Shooters. But Who Would That Deter? Texasmonthly
    After this weekend’s mass shooting in West Texas that left seven dead and over a dozen more injured, the pressure is on leaders in Texas to do something about the crisis facing our state. Four of the ten deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred here—one of them just over a month ago in El Paso—and the frequency with which they’ve begun happening means that it’s no longer possible to just wait for the news cycle to move on. Texas Republicans have generally been slow to address the problem. For example, Representative Matt Schaefer, in a viral Twitter thread, ... more
  • 3 months Flores Barbecue, a Top 50 Joint, Closes in Fort Worth Texasmonthly
    Flores Barbecue left the Hill County town of Whitney in February for what owner Michael Wyont hoped would prove greener pastures in Fort Worth. A new Flores food truck opened at the Trailhead at Clearfork development in May, ahead of a planned brick-and-mortar at the same location. It was big news for Texas barbecue and for Fort Worth, which stood to add a Top 50 barbecue joint to an already rapidly growing barbecue scene. But now, just a few months later, Wyont has announced he’s leaving the business and taking the name with him. “The big city I don’t think is for me,” ... more
  • 3 months Travis Scott’s Documentary Situates Astroworld, and Houston, Front and Center Texasmonthly
    A little over halfway through Travis Scott’s new Netflix documentary Look Mom I Can Fly, Paul Wall, one of Houston’s most visible rappers, bestows an unofficial and incredibly meaningful honor upon Scott. “You the big homie now,” Wall says with a thousand-watt grin, referring to the 28-year-old’s placement in the lineage of Houston hip-hop OGs that came before him. “You everybody’s big homie now, bro.” At that moment, Scott was celebrating the fact that he pulled off the inaugural Astroworld Festival in his hometown, something he had envisioned since the eponymously-named amusement park shuttered in 2005. Scott, born in 1991, ... more
  • 3 months Video Games and Godless Hearts: The Texas Gun Debate Is at a Depressing Dead End Texasmonthly
    Mass shootings barely register now unless they provide some new twist or new level of horror: six-year-old victims, Sandy Hook; 422 people shot, Las Vegas; racial terrorism, El Paso. When a colleague googled “mobile mass shooting” to see if there was any kind of precedent for the event that took place in Midland/Odessa on Saturday, he discovered that nine people had been shot in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday, an event I had not heard of otherwise before or since. Searching for “Alabama shooting” just now, I found out that a fourteen-year-old in Athens, Alabama, killed his five family members Monday ... more
  • 3 months Janice Engel: “For Molly Ivins, Politics Was About Who’s Getting Screwed And Who’s Doing The Screwing” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify Seven years in the making, Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins premiered at January’s Sundance Film Festival, played South By Southwest in March, and is now in theatrical release across Texas. The feature-length documentary chronicles the wit, courage, and sometimes messy private life of the best-selling author, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize-nominated syndicated columnist who died after a long battle with breast cancer in 2007. In the movie, Dan Rather and Rachel Maddow headline a collection of friends, colleagues, and fans who put Ivins’s caustic wit and fearlessness in context. For our podcast session, the ... more
  • 3 months The Texanist: What Do I Do When I See an Upside Down Texas Flag? Texasmonthly
    Q: I’m enjoying a nice beach vacation with my in-laws on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. The house we rented is at the end of a short waterway that connects to the bay. The beach house just across from us is flying a Texas flag, along with the U.S. of A. flag, and one other flag that my New Jersey–born wife tells me is the flag of New Jersey. However, the Texas flag is flying upside down. We don’t know these folks, and I generally like to keep to myself, but as a lifelong Texan, what’s my duty here? Kindly ... more
  • 3 months The Traditional Czech Gowns Capable of Withstanding Texas Heat Texasmonthly
    Maggie Grmela has been stitching kroj, traditional Czech dresses, for over thirty-five years in her hometown of West, Texas. The dressmaker’s personal adaptation of kroj, which she makes at her shop Maggie’s Fabric Patch, evolved from a need to make costumes that allowed for comfortable dancing in the Lone Star State’s sweltering climate. Grmela, whose great-grandparents moved to the U.S. from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic forty-five years ago, helped launch WestFest, the town’s yearly Czech celebration. Every Labor Day Weekend, locals and parade-marchers donning kroj (pronounced “croy”) mingle amidst kolaches, polka, and good pivo (that’s Czech for beer). ... more
  • 3 months Daddy Duncan’s Dishes Out Barbecue All Over Katy Texasmonthly
    Daddy Duncan’s BBQ trailer in Katy may only open its windows on weekends, but you can get its barbecue all week long. Owners Sylvia and Randy Duncan have partnered with nine different restaurants and food vendors who have come up with creative ways to integrate Daddy Duncan’s meats into their dishes. It’s a culinary collaboration that allows smoked brisket to cross into unfamiliar territory. After ordering brisket empanadas and a brisket-stuffed arepa, I stirred a café bombón at La Baguette Bakery & Bistro. The drink is layered with sweetened condensed milk, espresso, and whipped cream. It was gone in a few ... more
  • 3 months Remembering The Texas International Pop Festival, The Lone Star State’s Answer to Woodstock Texasmonthly
    In 1969, Janell Myers grew her hair long to protest both the preferences of her cosmetology-teacher parents and the war in Vietnam. Being a 15-year-old with anti-corporate views in Richardson, Texas, could get lonely. She had Janis Joplin, though, and the solace of “Little Girl Blue.” Many versions of the popular song had come before and would come after. Joplin’s take, sung with knowing pain and reassurance, reached Janell at the right time. So did Woodstock. As Janell recounted years later for a University of North Texas oral history project, it took a full day before she heard about the ... more
  • 3 months Los Muertos BBQ’s Brisket Puffy Taco Adds to the Tex-Mex Barbecue Trend Texasmonthly
    Rick Muniz lives two lives. Mondays through Thursdays, he’s a consultant for the Texas Department of Public Safety in its Houston anti-gang unit. Fridays through Sundays, you can find him working the window of his food truck, Los Muertos BBQ in Katy. During his thirty-year career as a Texas state trooper, he cooked barbecue for DPS holiday functions and training events. For his work feeding victims of Hurricane Harvey two years ago, he was awarded the Spirit of the Trooper Award. Now he’s serving his barbecue specialties to the public from a strip mall parking lot. The native of Carrizo Springs ... more
  • 3 months Recipe: Instant Pot Texas Chicken Green Chili with Cider Texasmonthly
    It’s Hatch chile season. Perhaps you’ve heard? These mild green chiles are an abundant, delicious, and extremely seasonal treat, whether they’re official Hatch chiles (grown in New Mexico) or the related Anaheim chiles (grown elsewhere). How best to make use of them before they disappear again until next year? With apologies to our western neighbors, this is a Texas Chicken Green Chili. It’s based on the tenets of Texas red chili but developed to highlight the flavors of fresh green chiles. That means it’s mostly just meat and chile, and you’re probably going to want to eat it with rice, ... more
  • 3 months Break’s Over: Texas Is Only the Fourth-Hardest-Working State in America Texasmonthly
    Texans work hard, or so our truck commercials tell us. If you believe Ford or Chevy or Toyota, most of us spend our days fastening chains around giant logs, lassoing them to our hitches, and slopping through muddy creeks while the likes of Denis Leary lecture us about aluminum alloy. But outside of these mini-documentaries, evidence of our state’s indomitable work ethic has mostly been anecdotal—until now. This week, those analytical roughnecks at credit monitoring site WalletHub strapped some freshly cut statistics to a flatbed, cranked up the Bob Seger, and hauled out a new report proclaiming Texas to be ... more
  • 3 months What Will the World Be Like in 2039, When Richard Linklater Finishes His Stephen Sondheim Musical? Texasmonthly
    On Thursday, Collider broke the news that Richard Linklater would begin production on what appears to be his most ambitious project yet: an adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along, which takes place over the course of twenty years. The hook? Linklater, along with stars Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein, will shoot the project over the course of the next two decades, so the characters will age in real time. Linklater has already proven his ability to use time as a storytelling element in film—Boyhood, shot over 12 years, gave audiences the chance to watch two children grow ... more
  • 3 months ‘Mistakes Were Made’: It Remains to Be Seen if Greg Abbott’s Passive-Voice Apology Represents a Change of Heart Texasmonthly
    The day before a white supremacist entered a Walmart in El Paso and killed 22 people, explaining that he did so because he feared non-white immigrants were supplanting white citizens in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott sent a fundraising letter to his supporters expressing a disturbingly similar sentiment. “If we’re going to DEFEND Texas, we’ll need to take matters into our own hands,” the letter said. “Unless you and I want liberals to succeed in their plan to transform Texas—and our entire country—through illegal immigration.”  The timing was, to put it mildly, an uncomfortable bit of business for the governor. It’s ... more
  • 3 months Shoemaker’s Barbecue Is Long Gone, But Its Legacy Carries On Texasmonthly
    A year shy of its fiftieth birthday, the original Shoemaker’s Barbecue was demolished in downtown Dallas in 1975. At the time, Texas Monthly mourned the demise of “one of the city’s historic barbecue places” to make way for a tower that was never built. The former site of the restaurant, a block east of the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building on Commerce Street, is now a parking lot. The name Shoemaker’s might not ring a bell, but the way it served barbecue became a model for barbecue joints in Dallas and farther afield. When Reuben Shoemaker opened his small establishment ... more
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